FL Ag Commissioner Bank Account Closed Over Medical Marijuana Support

posted by Jessi Minneci - 

Banking giant Wells Fargo has shut down the campaign account of a Florida candidate running to become the state's next agricultural commissioner... and it's apparently because she supports medical marijuana.

Democrat Nikki Fried said Monday that Wells Fargo started asking questions about her platform a month after she joined the statewide race: Does she advocate more access to medical marijuana? Would she accept contributions from medical marijuana lobbyists?

Fried responded that she, herself had lobbied for medical marijuana companies, and received contributions from lobbyists. Then, just weeks before the Aug. 28 primary, Wells Fargo said in a letter that it was shutting down her account, based on a review of its banking risks.

Fried has been forced to transfer her money to another bank. 

Wells Fargo's actions against my campaign are emblematic about what is wrong with government and politics today," said Fried.

Florida voters legalized medical marijuana in 2016, but some banks are reluctant to do business with an industry that remains illegal under federal law. Florida's agriculture commissioner does not have a direct role in the regulation of medical marijuana, but Fried has vowed to press for increased patient access.

Wells Fargo said it could not comment on an individual customer's account, but said the bank does not "knowingly" provide services to marijuana businesses.

Florida's agriculture commissioner is one of three elected officials who serve on the Florida Cabinet. Fried is one of three Democrats and four Republicans who are running for the post.

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